Archive for February, 2010

Now Playing: February 2010

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a “Now Playing” update.  Part of that is just laziness, of course, but also that two posts at the end of 2009 were especially demanding: “Top Music of the Decade” and “Top Music of 2009”.  Check those out, if you haven’t already.

Now… to the latest albums/artists that I’ve been listening to…

  • The Avett Brothers, “I And Love And You
    • I actually discovered this album at the end of last year, but didn’t get around to adding it to my Now Playing list.  In all honesty, it probably should’ve been on my “Top Music of 2009” list, but at that point I hadn’t given it enough of a listen.  It’s very good, though.  Really, really good, in fact.  If you’re a fan of a little twang, great melodies, and moving music, give this album a listen.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
  • Phoenix, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
    • I had quite literally never heard of this artist until this past December – and then I was hit by them (meaning it was “recommended” to me) from several friends.  I wasn’t initially impressed, but it’s grown on me.  A LOT.  This is a fun band and a fun album.  Not exactly retro, but certainly pointed in that direction.  I seem to enjoy this album more and more with each listen, so it probably should’ve ended up on my “Top 2009” albums as well.  What’cha gonna do?!  Grab it.
  • The Standard, “Swimmer” and “Albatross
    • Hailing from Portland, OR, this is an incredibly moody band with a sound that tends to envelope you.  Very musical, and somewhat dark.  Both albums are great, but go with their latest, “Swimmer”, for a more immediate feel for their style.
  • David Bazan, “Curse Your Branches”
    • My personal “David Bazan” library pretty much started/stopped with “Hard To Find A Friend”, but this album has changed that.  The first few songs in particular are flat-out amazing, with the rest of the album dragging a bit (for me).  Still, great work from Mr. Bazan that really deserves a lot of praise.
  • Spoon, “Transference
    • The follow-up album to “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”, one of my “Top Music of the Decade” choices, was either going to one-up their last release, or fall short.  Commercially-speaking, this album falls short of the pop-minded hooks found in “Ga” and really hearkens back to earlier releases like “Gimme Fiction” or “Kill The Moonlight”.  What I mean is that this album is somewhat less approachable, and takes a bit longer to grow on you.  It’s almost as if Spoon was trying to shed some of their fair-weather fans.  Hard to say.  When it comes down to it, though, this album has some real gems for those willing to dig.
  • Fair, “Disappearing World
    • Several years in the making, the latest release from Fair has been hotly anticipated by many fans.  Quite honestly, it’s not entirely what I was expecting.  Whereas their first album bordered on dark and moody at times, this album is bent much more toward a vocal-driven, pop sound that might throw a few people at first.  It is *very* much the “Fair” sound, of course, but with a pep to it that is a different direction from the first album.  So far, it hasn’t been as “immediately accessible” to me, but some of my favorite albums have been that way.  That said, “sonically” this album is incredible – from the piano, to the drums, to the mixdown.  Amazing.
  • Manchester Orchestra, “I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child
    • I found their latest release, “Mean Everything To Nothing”, late last year, but never delved any further into their catalog.  Upon repeated suggestion from friends that I respect musically, I wandered my way into this album, which has grown on me considerably over the past couple of months.  Not so much a “rock your socks off” album, it really works well for those willing to put on a good pair of headphones and listen closely.  Not entirely sure about all of the lyrics, but there is a subtle genius to this album that is difficult to dismiss.
  • John Davis, “John Davis
    • Formerly (and now “currently”) of Superdrag fame, John Davis released this solo album back in 2005.  It’s taken me this long to grab a copy for myself and enjoy the genius here, of which there is plenty.  This is almost a modern day version of a Larry Norman album, for those familiar with his stuff:  too liberal for the conservatives, and too conservative for the liberals.  That usually means it’s just perfect, and this album nearly is.  Grab it!
  • The Broken West, “Now Or Heaven
    • Found via another Zune Marketplace rabbit trail, The Broken West is one of those bands that has seemed to completely fly under the radar.  It’s too bad, too, because “Now Or Heaven” is one of the best albums I’ve heard in quite awhile.  Not sure who to compare them too, other than a modern day Gin Blossoms – and I mean that in a good way.  Very talented, great vocal hooks, and likely to go over the head of most folks.  Definitely worth grabbing, though.

Until next time… thanks for reading.